The first York Balloon Fiesta – everything you need to know

The amazing things you can do with hot air… Photograph: Pexels

York Balloon Fiesta is a new event on the city calendar, and once which looks set to provide some amazing sights and memories.

York Balloon Fiesta

Knavesmire, York

Fri Sept 29-Sun Oct 1

Free entry. Parking: £6 per car

More details

Over three days – starting today (Friday) and running till Sunday (October 1) 45 balloons will soar into our skies while a festival of fun takes place below.

After watching them soar, visitors can enjoy a funfair complete with Victorian inspired rides, live music, a beer tent and street food stalls from Yorkshire vendors.

The brainchild of Damian Torrington and balloonist and entrepreneur Oliver Webb, the fiesta is sponsored by TalkTalk Ultra Fibre Optic Broadband and supported by Make It York.

Remember all the balloon activities are subject to the right weather conditions – check for live updates on the Facebook page. Fingers crossed for a calm and dry weekend.

So, what’s on, where and when? Good questions, thank you for asking…

Friday, September 29

Photograph: York Balloon Fiesta / Facebook

4.45pm-5.45pm – Balloon launch
A first chance to see the balloonists soar up from Knavesmire.

5pm-7pm – Balloon tethers in the arena
See these remarkable craft close up.

4.30pm-8pm – Live music
Enjoy performances on the Minster FM stage.

Don’t miss
There will be beer and gin tasting throughout Friday and Saturday evening. Just don’t try to hijack a balloon after a few G&Ts.

Saturday, September 30

Preview for York Balloon Fiesta

7.15am-8.15am – Mass balloon launch
A chance to start the weekend in style by watching a take-off shortly after dawn.

12pm-3.45pm – Live music
More artists on the Minster FM stage.

Noon-3.45pm – Balloon tethers in the arena
See these remarkable craft close up.

4pm-4.30pm – Owl Adventures
A different sort of airborne experience. You can hold an owl of your own or watch the flying display.

4.45pm-5.45pm – Mass balloon launch
This should be a remarkable spectacle.

6pm-8pm – Live music
More from the Minster FM stage.

8.30pm-9pm – TalkTalk Ultra Fibre Optic Night Glow
The skies will be lit up with a dazzling Night-Glow performance on the Saturday evening.

Sunday, October 1

Owl Adventures. Photograph: A Smith

7.15am-8.15am – Mass balloon launch
Your last chance to see the early morning ascent.

11am-12.30pm – Balloon tethers in the arena
See these remarkable craft close up.

1pm-2pm – Yorkshire Air Ambulance fly in
Watch the yellow helicopter land on Knavesmire, then have a sit in yourself.

2.15pm-2.45pm – Owl Adventures
A final chance to see our feathered friends.

3pm-4.30pm – Live music
The last entertainment on the Knavesmire stage.

4.45pm-5.45pm – Mass balloon launch
Up, up and away as we wave goodbye to the inaugural fiesta.

6pm-8pm – Live music
Bringing the curtain down.

Transport Q&As

What the site looks from a hot air balloon. Photograph: York Balloon Fiesta / Facebook

How much is it to park?

It’s £6 for the full day, of which £1 will go to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.


How do I get there by car?

Turn off Tadcaster Road onto Knavesmire Road and head towards the Grandstand builds. Just after the left hand bend you will see the entrance to event car park, “Car Park D”.


Is there a direct bus service?

Yes, First York is providing bus transport to the site for £2 return. Travel from Askham Bar Park and Ride, just off the A64 where free parking is available to visitors of the Balloon Fiesta throughout the three-day event.


What about other bus routes?

York residents travelling to the event can take advantage of several First York services serving Tadcaster Road to travel to York Racecourse to attend the York Balloon Fiesta. A special return fare of £2 will be available to spectator’s travelling from York City centre to the event on services 3, 4 and 12/14.


What about arriving by train?

Get off at York railway station. Leave the front of the station and cross the road. Here you will be able to catch the Askham Bar Park & Ride bus. Get off at Mount Vale.


Walking or cycling?

Head to York Racecourse, go down Knavesmire Road and you will find the event on your right hand side. It is located at the Tadscaster Road end of the Knavesmire.